Wednesday, March 5th

  • 8:00 AM Daily Mass (English)
  • 5:00 PM Liturgy of the Word (English)
  • 7:00 PM Liturgy of the Word (Spanish)

"Remember, man, you are dust and to dust you will return" (Gn 3:19).
Those who receive ashes are reminded of this truth to begin the season of Lent.

Ashes are a sign of repentance and sorrow. In the early church, those who had committed a serious sin would wear a penitential garment and be sprinkled with ashes. By 1091, the church encouraged all Catholics to be marked with ashes at the beginning of Lent. This practice continues today and as we are marked with the ashes, we are reminded of our baptismal commitment to "turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel" (Mk 1:15).

The ashes used on Ash Wednesday come from the palm branches that were blessed the previous year on Passion Sunday. Since there is no special rite governing how the palms are burned, many areas have begun their own traditions of preparing the ashes to be used. There is also no rule that stipulates that the ashes must be worn outside of the Ash Wednesday Liturgy, although it is common to see many people still wearing the ashes throughout the day.

Some people believe that it is a sin, or worse, that you would not go to heaven if you did not receive ashes. This is not true.

Ash Wednesday is NOT a holy day of obligation, but that does not mean that we should not participate in the liturgy or that the symbol is not important. Wearing ashes symbolizes our resolve to live a life dead to sin and alive for Christ. Wearing ashes reminds us to deepen our desire to live out our baptismal promises.